Monday, October 18, 2010

Adventure Sleeping

Opie Taylor: [as Mr. Tucker is leaving] Hey Mr. Tucker, you aren't gonna leave, are you?
Malcolm Tucker: I have to, son.
Opie Taylor: Aw, rats! If you were staying, I was going to get to sleep on the ironing board between two chairs.
Malcolm Tucker: Sounds terrible!
Opie Taylor: No it ain't - that's adventure sleeping!

Danica and I have been listening to the sounds of saws and hammering all day today. My parents are having the basement of their new home framed for finishing. Imagine waiting months for your beautiful new home to be built, driving by every day to check out the progress and excitedly picking out the finishes. Finally, it's done, and you get to move in. You even buy a big new king sized bed with the best mattress you have ever owned. Before the boxes are all unpacked and the new grass sprouts are up you find out your grandaughter needs to be in a wheelchair and your house is really the only place she and her family can go while she recovers. Without a moment of hesitation your new home and your new bed are the place you want her to be.

The day Dr. Crawford made it clear Danica would not be able to walk for awhile and need to remain in a wheelchair my parents huddled together and talked about the possibility of having our family stay here with them. Dan and I were very resistant. We need our space. Our family operates on a schedule with lots of quiet time and routine. My parents are in fulltime service. They are in and out and keep much different hours than a young family. Although we knew our home would probably not work even with modifications we did not in any way think staying here was a possibility.

My parents built this house with a master bedroom and bath for them and the additional second and third bedroom expanded on the opposite side of the house as an in-law suite with living room, kitchen and bath for my grandmother and her sister to move into. My dad has a small study on the front of the home, and my brother Mirel, who still lives at home, has been sleeping in the unfinished basement. To say they already had a full house is an understatment. They have been waiting on their old house to close before beginning the expense of finishing any space in the basement. Now Delaney is sleeping on a rollaway in my dad's study. My mom is sleeping on the couch. Dan, Danica and I are sleeping in the master bedroom with Danica in bed with me and Dan on a mattress on the floor. Mirel is staying at our house some and my dad, my sweet dad, is sleeping on a rollaway in the unfinished basement which is now under construction. This kills me. The sacrifice of their home, their bed, their space for us is almost too much to accept.

When I went in the basement last night to see where my dad is sleeping I had to come back up here and cry. He jokingly referred to the Andy Griffith episode I quoted above. Not quite an ironing board but definitely adventure sleeping. We are all adjusting. Delaney is obsessively watching Waltons DVDs. I am missing my husband and my bed and running my own home. Danica is missing her things and her own space too. She asked this morning, "When can I go home, mom?"

Dan and I walked around the neighborhood last night in the crisp fall air while the sun was setting. It was good to realize we still have the capacity to dream and talk about a future. We picked out one of the empty lots and talked about building our own little ranch that would meet Danica's possible future disabilities and still be close to family for support. We watched the children safely riding their bikes through the quiet streets and families walking their dogs and dreamed of a normal life with healthy children and nothing to think about on a Sunday night but a week of work and carpool and homework. We know we will probably never own our own home again. We know we may possibly never have all our bills paid again. We know we may be dependent on the sacrifice and love of others for the rest of our lives. Holding hands with teary eyes we spoke of the blessing of being in this place, right now and being together. We spoke of the amazing love of my family to give up every creature comfort for us to simply make it through these next long weeks and months. We are grateful for adventure sleeping. Our hope remains.

(I love this picture of my dad and Danica in her wheelchair. He invented a game with a rope tied to her chair, and he pushes her back and then pulls her forward.) "Where there is great love there are always miracles." W. Cather

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